Management Article

Multiple Authors
By: Antoine Tirard, Claire Harbour

As clients clamor for speedy results and headhunters increasingly rely on the latest data analytic tools, there is a danger of dull, predictable candidates being churned out for results that serve but do not shine.

At a recent panel on careers, a prominent headhunter said: “Search consultants, however naturally creative, find themselves stuck in a position of risk mitigation on behalf of their clients. More often than not, they end up placing the candidate who is the closest to being the carbon copy of the predecessor—minus whatever faults they were deemed to have.”

This damning statement did not sit well with us, however close it may be to reality. Although we don’t deny the importance of hiring based on skills and experience, we also believe that the potential and personality of candidates should greatly weigh on recruitment decisions. So we set out to identify audacious headhunters who have successfully advocated for outlier candidates. We hope these stories will inspire recruiters and companies alike. (Candidates’ and recruiters’ names are disguised.)

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By: Joerg Niessing

Since Covid-19’s arrival, digital resilience increasingly refers to the strategic use of digital technologies in delivering customer value and business growth despite adversities. Indeed, some industries—such as hospitality, higher education, or traditional retail—were hit more than others because they did not embed digital technologies and analytics early or strongly enough.

In building resilience, the customer-centric perspective is critical. Only companies that leverage digital technologies and data to engage with customers more effectively, enrich customer experiences, or offer innovative customer-centric business models will create long-term growth.

INSEAD’s upcoming case study on Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), the Middle East’s leading shopping mall, retail, and leisure pioneer, explores this issue further. Despite Covid-19’s impact on many of MAF’s industries, like shopping malls, entertainment, and grocery retail, the conglomerate’s digital readiness, which had been ramping up for years prior to the pandemic, significantly limited the pandemic’s negative effects.

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By: Tom Taormina

Each article in this series presents new tools for increasing return on investment (ROI), enhancing customer satisfaction, creating process excellence, and driving risk from an ISO 9001:2015-based quality management system (QMS). They will help implementers evolve quality management to overall business management. In this article we look at the clauses and subclauses of Section 9 of the standard.

Clause 9—Performance evaluation

Clause 9 is the part of the standard that we can use to truly quantify business excellence and risk avoidance. I will propose paradigm shifts that will make the outputs of this clause more informative for senior management and will include actionable recommendations that can contribute to the success factors that are immediately palatable and implementable for the leadership.

9.1.1 Monitoring, measurement, analysis, and evaluation—General

9.1.1 and excellence
This subclause requires that the organization must establish what needs to be monitored, measured, analyzed, and evaluated.

Ted Theyerl’s picture

By: Ted Theyerl

‘Forward!” It’s the state motto of Wisconsin, where I work to help manufacturing companies improve their operations and processes. It’s one simple word that holds a lot of meaning and relevance. It’s what I want companies I work with to embrace, practice, and execute. Forward is a word that helps summarize an entire scope of improvement practices, and it’s a word that has become even more relevant in these times of uncertainty. This motto and mindset can help your company serve everyone—your owners, employees, and customers—even better in the future. Forward!

When the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic hit hard in mid-March 2020, the entire business and economic landscape shifted, almost instantly. Manufacturing companies had no option but to adapt rapidly to change or suffer the consequences—which could be immediate or long lasting.

How well did you do? If you adjusted quickly and smoothly, that’s a good sign you have solid improvement practices in place. If it was a struggle or worse, a threat to your business, that is a signal you need to get better at getting better—rapidly. How can you improve your ability to adapt rapidly?

Ann Clark’s picture

By: Ann Clark

Reshoring is the trend of bringing manufacturing from overseas back to its local origin—to here, the United States. The tariffs on Chinese, Canadian, and European imports were levied both to level the global-trade playing field and incentivize U.S. companies to bring manufacturing back to America. Now it seems that the Covid-19 pandemic may have accelerated this trend.

Supply-continuity risk, rapid innovation, responsiveness, and technological collaboration are now critical considerations for sourcing, as are costs, quality, and lead time. Changing consumer behaviors demand rapid and iterative innovation, which can be more effectively achieved by shortening supply chains and bringing producers closer to final consumers.

U.S. companies like Franklin Bronze offer speed to market and close collaboration—an advantage for those looking to reshore. Automation and in-house processes, from tooling to machining, allows Franklin Bronze to deliver parts quickly. Same-shore manufacturers and customers are able to partner for joint design development and can customize projects to meet specific needs. Franklin Bronze also leverages 3D printing for rapid innovation and small-lot production.

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By: Farhana Ahmad

When Intelex developed its return-to-work program, we decided the best approach would be a phased one. Similar to the concept of continuous deployment, breaking down the plan to allow individuals to quickly process, adapt, and execute practices and procedures makes it more manageable for employers and employees alike.

To summarize each phase and their objectives:
1. Respond: involves the immediate steps taken during the initial outbreak
2. Return: introduces short-term changes implemented to address all the newly discovered issues
3. Reimagine: implements long-term policies, procedures, and best practices to create an agile and resilient workforce

Our role in the Safe Actions for Employee Returns (SAFER) initiative

On top of our internal developments, we’ve joined the National Safety Council’s Safe Actions for Employee Returns (SAFER) initiative. With the aim of delivering a framework designed to ensure an effective and seamless transition back to the workplace, we have joined the ranks of more than 100 experts across 50 leading organizations.

Davis Balestracci’s picture

By: Davis Balestracci

“With data from an epidemic there is no question of whether a change has occurred. Change is everywhere. The question is whether we are getting better or worse. So while the process behavior chart may be the Swiss army knife of statistical techniques, there are times when we need to leave the knife in our pocket, plot the data, and then listen to them as they tell their story.”
Dr. Donald J. Wheeler

I agree with Dr. Wheeler’s comment about process control charts. Yet, I’m seeing far too many of them being inappropriately used as naïve attempts to interpret the mountains of questionable Covid-19 data being produced. I’ve done a few charts myself out of curiosity but none that I feel are worth sharing. Dr. Wheeler’s two recent, excellent Quality Digest articles have been the sanest things written—with nary a control chart in sight.

Angelo Scangas’s picture

By: Angelo Scangas

A manufacturer’s ability to maintain high-quality products and regulatory compliance depends largely on its suppliers’ own quality-related activities. Supplier audits can be an important tool for manufacturing organizations to ensure their suppliers are consistently delivering high-quality parts, materials, components, or ingredients for their finished products.

Leveraged correctly, supplier audits can identify, address, and prevent problems in a supplier’s product quality or processes before the problems spread.

Michael Weinold’s picture

By: Michael Weinold

After nearly 130 years in business and a series of breakthrough innovations that shaped the way we light up our homes, General Electric has sold its lighting division to the U.S.-based market leader in smart homes, Savant, for a reported $250 million (£198 million). Although a licensing agreement means that consumers will continue to see GE-branded light bulbs in stores, the sale marks the end of an era for this quintessential giant of the illumination industry.

GE traces its roots to Thomas Edison’s invention of the electric light bulb in 1879. Since then, GE Lighting and its direct legal predecessors have shaped illumination technology like no other company: building on Edison’s legacy, the company went on to patent the tungsten filament in 1912 and the first practical fluorescent tubes in 1927.

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By: Ken Voytek

I’ve made it my personal crusade to keep a focus on the fundamental importance of productivity to manufacturers, to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and to the MEP centers that do the daily work of helping small manufacturers boost their performance. It may seem strange to consider productivity right now, given the current environment, but it remains important to both national economic and business success. Indeed, productivity will be even more critical as we recover from the current health and economic crisis.

Currently, there is significant excess capacity of both capital and labor that we can reengage to help the economy grow faster and return to full employment and capacity utilization of plants. In his 2004 book, The Power of Productivity (University of Chicago Press, 2005), William Lewis argues that the real solution is not necessarily more capital or working smarter (although these things certainly help), but rather how a company organizes and deploys its capital and labor.

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